Shuttle Rescue

When I came home from work last Friday one of the top stories on the NBC Nightly News said the space shuttle Columbia could have been saved.

The story said that NASA could rush the shuttle Atlantis into space as a rescue ship, transfer the Columbia crew to the rescue ship, and return safely to earth.

I knew that a rescue like this was possible, but dangerous. The TV report made it sound almost routine. Well, it turns out to be NOT very likely.

From an Orlando Sentinel report :
"It's nice to say we would have done something,"former shuttle commander Rick Searfoss said, "but you get killed in this business when you wing things like that."
 It\'s easy to slip into these kind of thought experiments about what 'could have' been done to save the Columbia crew.  There are always things that are possible. But that's not the same as 'safe'